Reasons to consider divorce

Reasons to consider divorce

The divorce rate in America is one of the highest in the world (over 50 percent). But the divorce rate of Muslims in North America is almost as high, according to New York based sociologist Ilyas Ba-Yunus.

Yes, it's true. Muslims today are divorcing in larger numbers than before. There are clearly problems within families that have not been addressed: dysfunction, miscommunication, and in a number of cases violence and abuse.

But while Muslims are taking this step in larger numbers, what does Islam have to say about it?

The Islamic perspective on divorce

"Divorce is something that is very much discouraged in Islam," explains Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).

"It is called, according to one of the Hadith of the Prophet Sal Allahu alayhi wa Sallam (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) 'the most hateful thing that is permissible.'"

This stance discouraging divorce needs to be seen in a balanced way, notes Siddiqi.

"It has to be used very carefully," he says.

What are some legitimate reasons for a couple to consider divorce?

There are definitely valid reasons Muslim men and women can seek divorce.

"One legitimate reason is if there is immoral behavior, unIslamic behavior on the part of a spouse," says Siddiqi. "If a spouse is involved in that, then there is a breakdown."

"For example if one of the spouses, God forbid, is involved in adultery or fornication. In that case, they have a right to separate and this is a legitimate ground for separation."

Another valid reason for divorce is apostasy on the part of either spouse. If a Muslim man or woman's spouse leaves Islam, Siddiqi says the marriage is null and void and the couple can no longer be together.

Abdalla Idris Ali is a member of ISNA's executive body and former president of the organization. He adds to the list of legitimate reasons for seeking divorce dishonesty prior to marriage.

For instance, if a husband told his wife before marriage that he did not consume alcohol or drugs and she discovers after marriage that he is an alcoholic or drug addict.

Some other reasons are:

  • a woman was married before and she did not tell her husband
  • a woman marries man and he is impotent, and she finds out after marriage.
  • cruelty
  • a man's inability or refusal to support his wife
  • a wife's refusal to live with her husband or be with him.
  • if one of the spouses is unable to have conjugal relations
  • one spouse feels repulsion towards the other.

Ali, however, cautions against jumping to divorce quickly and adds that every case has to be looked at individually.

"It is one thing to speak about a ruling. It is another thing to speak about a judgement in a certain case," he says in an interview with Sound Vision and RadioIslam.com.

"If you ask me now, what is the ruling in Islam for a young man who commits Zina (adultery and fornication)? I'll tell you Allah says, give him 100 lashes. This is what the Quran says."

"But you bring me a man and say, this man committed Zina. I'm not going just to give him 100 lashes. This is a case. I have to investigate it, to see whether he did it, you cannot just go and apply the rule."

Illegitimate reasons to seek divorce

Along with legitimate reasons for seeking divorce, Siddiqi and Ali also point to those that are not so acceptable.

Siddiqi gives the example of a husband not liking the way a wife cooks or dresses.

"One should not expect perfection on the part of the spouse because nobody's perfect except Allah and His Messenger. Everybody has shortcomings," he says in an interview with Sound Vision from his home in Orange County, California.

"One should have willingness to sacrifice some of the things," he adds. "This is how the family is established, how it becomes a better family.

Another reason that should not be grounds for divorce is just moodiness on the part of a spouse, says Ali.

What can couples do to avoid divorce?

Siddiqi recommends the following steps to couples who are in difficulty:

1. Both spouses should have the fear of Allah. They should remember that if they are unfair to their spouse, they will be judged on their behavior by Allah.
2. They should try to resolve the problem amongst themselves, then within family members
3. They should not hesitate to involve other members of the community. For instance, they should not feel ashamed or embarrassed to meet and speak with their local Imam (if he is someone fair and trustworthy to the husband and the wife).
4. Seek counseling, preferably from a Muslim counselor. If that is not possible than from a non-Muslim counselor. However, they should be aware of Islamic guidelines so they can take advice from that which is in line with Islamic values.

"As physically we can get sick, our relations also can get sick sometimes," says Siddiqi. "The sooner we take care of this problem the better. We should not prolong it. We should resolve the differences as soon as possible and as much as possible. But when problems go on and on, then the wounds will grow."

Siddiqi recommends Muslim couples draft a prenuptial agreement and specify that all conflicts in marriage should be resolved Islamically and in the case of divorce, this process, if it happens, is also handled in a manner in line with Islamic guidelines.

Comments

Salamualikum brothers and sisters
i am not Brazilian but i married a Brazilian and she accepted islam four years ago i moved from my country to brazil and i start living with my wife i brought small amount of money with me and took care of house cook clean all the things wife suppose to do i did as a husband time passed money ended i never got id or job here but i found ways to provide doing small jobs fixing stuff and kept teaching about islam to wife till she got abusive with me and i consulted a physiotherapist according to him she suffer from CBT conjunctive behavior disorder, short temper i was diagnosed with anger issues and i was abuse a lot as kid so i took the treatment but my wife refuse to see doctor time passed on and i couldnt find any small kind of work but i never stop cooking cleaning giving food in bed to wife and taking care of her like a maid and husband but her abuse got worse she hits punches etc and i am at point i dont know to keep the marriage or not but i feel sad for my wife i dont know if its stock holmes syndrome or what but i am being very miserable every time i tell my wife not to do something she do that thing first and this kind of behavior got me in to very big problems maybe it was islam i kept putting up with her but its four years of abuse i am not saint by myself i have a lot of issues too but in front of Allah the worst act is divorce and i try four years but in the end i am broken tired empty i dont know what to do

Location

brazil

I was 23and he was45 when we got married but before that I was in love with someone else but family convinced me to marry him because he is religious now after 4years of marriage and one child am cheating on my husband with my ex-boyfriend whomever I love. I confessed to my husband but he forgives me but I don't whan to be with him anymore and also he does not satisfie me sexually because the way I like it he is not able to play with me well please help me.

Location

Ghana

I'm married for 22 years I have 7 kids but I hate my husband. I'm not attracted to him and he doesn't make me happy at all. Our first year of marriage he cheated on me with my sister I stayed because I had a child from him. Each year passed by and he wanted to marry again and again. He kept coming back to me wanting a second wife. 9 years ago I got him a second wife hoping he would leave with her but I'm still here and this wife has left him twice,because of he's nagging ways and miserliness. I'm unhappy because this man flaunts he's love for this wife in my home because he can't afford and don't want us to live in separate homes. He treats me like I'm a stranger and the same goes for my kids while he treats her kids like gold. He doesn't want to divorce me he says it's because he wants no other man to have me. I'm sure he doesn't feel anything for me as I don't for him either. I'm in my own personal he'll. Please help

Location

South africa

salam, i got married in 2015 in February i was with my husband for 15 days before marriage him and his family said he was legal and after i got married i find out he was a seeking asylum on the first week they kept asking me for my passport also said I should have a baby and I should sell my wedding outfit on ebay, after i came back to my parents house he did not want to come take me he kept making excuses and started making rumours about me also gave me a horrible text, he said he has paid my mahr when he hasn't its coming up to almost 3 years now that i am not living with him and he does not want to give me a divorce, he wants his gold back that he gave me at the wedding as a gift should i keep the gold because it is stated in islam that if it given as a gift i have the right to keep it i also have the right to get my mahr, if i file a divorce would i have to give anything back I can't keep my life on hold i have to move on please what's the best advice?

Location

Uk

This is a terrible situation you are in. Our advice is to find a lawyer. You should not have to give the gold back and you are entitled to your Mahr.

Location

Sound Vision

I am 19 years old me and my husband got married when we both was 18. we are both Pakistanis but different cast and from different are in Pakistan. He is from Azad Kashmir and I am from Peshawar. I know we both rushed into everything but it was going well so far. after a month of marriage I went to Pakistan with him and his family, all was going well but then they started treating me different and his family started abusing me would not buy me clothes would always put me down and compare me to other daughter in law who was originally from Pakistan. My husbands parents have been separate for four years, due to him being abusive to his wife. When we came back to Uk, weeks after his dad touched me sexually MY FATHER IN LAW. my own dad has past away when I was younger so I classed him as my dad. I used to call him dad, and it broke me so much. I then went to stay at my moms house my husband demanded he will divorce me if I tell anyone from my family what his father had did. I was so trapped and stress, I was left with no clothes no money nothing. his dad started brainwashing his son to divorce me, I used to cry beg and even touch his feet just to speak to me. he would walk away or push me off him. I changed my life around for him and I was trying to do something good at such a young age. He then took me to his moms house, she started beating me up and kicking me out her house at night times when my husband used to be at work, I then went back at my moms house again a month down the lane, my husband wanted me to move to his brothers house now. I was scared of whats going to happen, he made so many so many promises that he will make sure his dad don't come around me. I believed him ofcourse because hes my husband, stayed at his brothers house for a month or so and they started demanded money of us I mean like £1500 a month, I had nothing no money was not working or anything. I left my uni to go get married to him because of all these false promises. my husband turned very manipulated abusive physically and emotionally, would stop me from going to my moms house ect. I would hide to see my mom, so much more to this bdw, anyways I am now again back at my moms house I feel so hurt angry, and broken, my husband is running after me now but I don't feel nothing any more I don't kn ow what to do. I know he will never change and his family made my life hell, I would not want anyone to go through this ever. can someone give me advice pls

Location

uk

please for the sake of Allah leave this man he doesnt deserve you at all , he doesnt respect you or your family ,start a new life else where you will be better off than living with such a man . trust my advice dont leave it too late

I am 19 years old me and my husband got married when we both was 18. we are both Pakistanis but different cast and from different are in Pakistan. He is from Azad Kashmir and I am from Peshawar. I know we both rushed into everything but it was going well so far. after a month of marriage I went to Pakistan with him and his family, all was going well but then they started treating me different and his family started abusing me would not buy me clothes would always put me down and compare me to other daughter in law who was originally from Pakistan. My husbands parents have been separate for four years, due to him being abusive to his wife. When we came back to Uk, weeks after his dad touched me sexually MY FATHER IN LAW. my own dad has past away when I was younger so I classed him as my dad. I used to call him dad, and it broke me so much. I then went to stay at my moms house my husband demanded he will divorce me if I tell anyone from my family what his father had did. I was so trapped and stress, I was left with no clothes no money nothing. his dad started brainwashing his son to divorce me, I used to cry beg and even touch his feet just to speak to me. he would walk away or push me off him. I changed my life around for him and I was trying to do something good at such a young age. He then took me to his moms house, she started beating me up and kicking me out her house at night times when my husband used to be at work, I then went back at my moms house again a month down the lane, my husband wanted me to move to his brothers house now. I was scared of whats going to happen, he made so many so many promises that he will make sure his dad don't come around me. I believed him ofcourse because hes my husband, stayed at his brothers house for a month or so and they started demanded money of us I mean like £1500 a month, I had nothing no money was not working or anything. I left my uni to go get married to him because of all these false promises. my husband turned very manipulated abusive physically and emotionally, would stop me from going to my moms house ect. I would hide to see my mom, so much more to this bdw, anyways I am now again back at my moms house I feel so hurt angry, and broken, my husband is running after me now but I don't feel nothing any more I don't kn ow what to do. I know he will never change and his family made my life hell, I would not want anyone to go through this ever. can someone give me advice pls.

Location

uk

My dear sister,
It is so hard that you had your dreams taken away from you. You are right, no one should go through sexual abuse from their father in law.
I think that your husband and his family is mistreating you (a lighter term than I mean). The Prophet (pbuh) ALWAYS was kind to his wives, he told all of his followers that wives were gifts of Allah. It's okay if you made a mistake marrying him. You have the right to divorce him and be with your family who loves you. You could have a whole life, go back to university, find a nice boy who will love YOU and be a God fearing husband who will support you. I went through a similar experience myself 20 years ago, and I left and never went back.
There is hope for you, a new life and joy that is possible. But I don't think that is possible here.
You are not being a 'good' wife by letting yourself be mistreated by him and his family. Allah made you, you are a good person.
Follow Allah's light, not the abuse.

Location

US

i want to know from Islamic teachings, can a man speak to his ex-wife in secret while she is now married to another man?
What are the steps to follow?

Location

Sierra Leone

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